1: Pittsburgh Pirates (57-39, +$2,267) (LW: 1): Let the grumbling begin. The Pirates lost two out of three against the Reds, and that now gives them series losses against the Reds, A's, Cubs, and Phillies just since the start of the month. Pittsburgh only has one series win thus far this month, that coming against the Mets. There are seven more road games coming followed by a crucial five-games series with the Cards at home, and if these games don't go at least somewhat well, the hopes of winning the NL Central might be down the drain.
2: Oakland Athletics (57-41, +$1,356) (LW: 2): The favored team won all three games this week that Oakland was involved in, and unfortunately for the A's, that meant losing two out of three. The offense did snap a string of eight straight games with three runs or fewer scored on Sunday though, when it dropped a 6-0 win on the Halos to at least salvage something in this series. It's off to Houston next before coming back home for another date with LA next weekend.
3: Baltimore Orioles (56-43, +$1,269) (LW: 5): Everyone's talking about how hot the Rays are and that Boston is sporting the best record in the American League and that the Yankees could be set to make a run in the second half… But what about little old Baltimore? The O's authoritatively went on the road and swept the Rangers in Arlington out of the break to move 13-games above .500, and they're all of a sudden on a pace to win around 92 games this season.
4: Boston Red Sox (60-40, +$1,266) (LW: 3): For a team that couldn't even win 75 games last season, the Red Sox are impressive to be the first in the game to get to 60 this year. The batting order just keeps coming up with clutch hits, hiding the fact that the starting pitching has been just downright ugly. We'll see whether the arms can do enough to hold down the white hot Rays when push comes to shove this week in one of the biggest series of the year to date in baseball.
5: Cleveland Indians (52-46, +$1,040) (LW: 4): Dropping two out of three to the Twins to start the second half was not what Manager Terry Francona had in mind for his Indians. The desire to bring in another starting pitcher is great, but the days are running out in which a deal could get done. Cleveland has to do something in a hurry, or this is going to be another lost season in which the team only barely finishes .500, or something in that vicinity.
6: St. Louis Cardinals (59-37, +$887) (LW: 6): St. Louis won two out of three this week, but that one loss to the Padres was damning from a betting perspective. Still, there is just that ever slight gap opening up in the NL Central, and as we documented earlier when we looked at the Pirates, the Cards are going to have the opportunity to blow that tiny gap wide open if they can figure out how to go on a roll over the course of this next week and a half or so. They're off to a good start with wins in nine of their last 12.
7: Tampa Bay Rays (58-41, +$731) (LW: 7): Going on the road was no problem for the Rays in their first series since the break, as they swept through the Jays without incident. They're now 20-4 in their last 24 games, and they are still storming ever so closer to the lead in the AL East and the best record in the American League. Up next is the most pivotal series of the season at Fenway Park against the hated Red Sox, and winning that series would set up Manager Joe Maddon and the gang to go into the end of July with the division lead.
8: Arizona Diamondbacks (51-47, +$319) (LW: 8): Gulp. The Diamondbacks know that the Dodgers are charging and are right on their backsides, and if they don't find a way to get a move on in a hurry, they're going to be left in the dust and completely out of the playoff picture in the National League. As much as the others are going to try to fight it out, the NL West is just a one-bid division to the playoffs this year, and even though Zona is one of the eight teams in baseball with at least three units of profits in 2013, it isn't going to be enough to get into the playoffs when push comes to shove if it doesn't improve.
9: New York Yankees (52-46, +$23) (LW: 11): 3B Alex Rodriguez is hurt again, and that shouldn't be considered a huge surprise for Yankees fans. New York had a great opportunity to take a big time series against the Red Sox, but they just couldn't figure out how to win the rubber match of the series. Now, they are taking another step in the wrong direction in the crowded AL East, and it doesn't seem like that is going to be changing any time in the future.
10: Cincinnati Reds (55-43, +$20) (LW: 12): The Reds played three gritty games with Pittsburgh this week at home and got the job done, winning two of the three to move within three games of the Bucs for the top Wild Card spot in the National League. The pitching staff has now allowed an average of just 3.44 runs per game in its last nine games dating back to July 9th, but thanks to an inconsistent offense, the team is only 5-4 in those outings. Now to make matters worse, Cincy has to play a "home game" at AT&T Park as a part of a doubleheader this week to make up for a Fourth of July rainout.
11: Atlanta Braves (55-43, +$12) (LW: 10): It's not surprising with all of their injuries that the Braves lost two of their first three games in the second half of the season. Generating runs wasn't the problem though, as there were 13 runs scored in the three games against the White Sox. Inconsistent pitching has led the team to just a 3-5 record in its last eight games dating back to July 10th.
12: Minnesota Twins (41-54, -$180) (LW: 14): Just the fact that there are only 11 teams in baseball with winning money records is outstanding right now. The Twins knocked off Cleveland in two out of three to at least give the hometown crowd something to cheer about, though about the only other thing left to root for is a good trade to come at the deadline to try to give this club a chance to win some games in the future.
13: Texas Rangers (54-44, -$218) (LW: 9): The Rangers have to be getting tired of the Orioles. Texas lost the one-game playoff last year against the O's and now, it was swept at home in a brutal series to start the second half. The Rangers are in a lot of trouble right now, as they are now on the wrong side of the playoffs in an AL West that is starting to get tighter and tighter as we speak. LA is sneaking up with each passing day, and if Texas (and Oakland) don't get on their horses, this could get mighty interesting in the second half.
14: Seattle Mariners (46-52, -$299) (LW: 19): Even Seattle is sort of hanging in there right now after its sweep of Houston this weekend. The Mariners have now won six straight, they have scored an average of 7.33 runs per game in those games, and they now have home series against the Indians and the Twins coming up. Could the M's be back near .500 before the trade deadline? It's not totally out of the question with the way things are going.
15: Chicago Cubs (43-53, -$404) (LW: 15): RHP Matt Garza practically had his bags packed for Arlington, but after a deal with the Rangers fell through for the time being, he is going to have to make one more start for the Cubbies at least before getting dealt. On the field, Chicago looked sluggish offensively, plating just nine total runs in three games against the Rocks at Coors Field to start a West Coast swing.
16: Kansas City Royals (45-50, -$435) (LW: 20): RHP Ervin Santana really rocked out on Friday night, throwing 7.1 innings of just two-hit ball without allowing a run against a great Detroit offense. That sparked the Royals to wins in two out of three against the Tigers, starting off the second half of their otherwise disappointing season on a relatively high note.
17: Colorado Rockies (48-51, -$445) (LW: 17): The Rocks inched a bit closer to the .500 mark this week by taking two out of three from the Cubs, but their time is starting to run a bit thin. It really feels like LA is set to run away with the NL West, and if that happens, Colorado may as well become a huge seller at the trade deadline for the pieces which it has available to sell. This team isn't that far away from being a contender though, as it has built a pitching staff to complement the big time pieces in the batting order that are in place.
18: Philadelphia Phillies (49-50, -$521) (LW: 16): Losing two out of three to the Mets has the Phillies scrambling in the NL East. Get used to hearing about this until they make a decision as to whether they are buyers or sellers… Dropping these two games but gaining ground on the Nationals and not losing any ground to the Braves simply just cost Philly time, and that's time that it doesn't really have on its side right now.
19: Toronto Blue Jays (45-52, -$633) (LW: 13): LHP Mark Buehrle tweeted last week, "Maybe we were overrated." Uh-oh. You never want to hear one of your best starting pitchers suggesting that the season is over with, but that's what the case really is for Toronto. After clawing all the way back to .500 on that long winning streak, reality has set in, and losing these first three games of the second half of the season against the Rays probably put the final nail in the coffin once and for in the Great White North for another campaign.
20: San Diego Padres (43-55, -$654) (LW: 21): Just the fact that the Padres won one of those three games at Busch Stadium this week was rather impressive, especially considering the fact that they were enormous underdogs from the get go in all three of those outings. The road remains unkind to the Pads this year, as they are just 16-33 to show for their work outside of the friendly confines of Petco Park.
21: Los Angeles Dodgers (50-47, -$670) (LW: 25): Remember when the world was set to run Manager Don Mattingly out of Los Angeles? No mas! The Dodgers are just a half game back of the lead in the NL West, and they are three-games above .500 for the first time all season long after sweeping the Nationals in a huge series in DC this past week. Not only is LA putting the pressure on Arizona atop the NL West, but the rest of the teams fighting for the Wild Card slots are taking notice of the Dodgers as well.
22: New York Mets (43-51, -$689) (LW: 23): We're still talking about a pipe dream and a half, but if the Mets find some way to sweep the Braves this week through four games, they will be just four back in the loss column with a chance to make a real charge. Of course, in order to do that, New York is going to have to get over its home woes, as the team is still just 19-28 at Citi Field this year in spite of the fact that it just took two out of three from the hated Phillies.
23: Houston Astros (33-64, -$844) (LW: 18): The Astros have dropped five straight and eight out of nine, and they are now on a pace to manage just 55 wins this season after this new streak. Will Houston break 50 wins this season? There's still a decent possibility that won't be the case. Now, the offense is catching up to the woefulness of the pitching. The 'Stros rank 28th in the game in run production at just 3.76 runs per game, which is terrible when you have a pitching staff with a 4.93 team ERA.
24: Miami Marlins (35-61, -$1,101) (LW: 24): Then again, the Marlins are still keeping pace with Houston in the chase for the worst record in baseball as well. The Fish were swept this week as well, and that only made matters worse for a team that is destined to purge once again by the end of the month. Is there anyone on this team that is worth rooting for outside of RHP Jose Fernandez? We don't see it if there is, unless you want to put 1B Giancarlo Stanton on that list.
25: Washington Nationals (48-50, -$1,153) (LW: 22): That certainly didn't help matters any. The Nats had a chance to make up ground on both Philly and Atlanta in the NL East this weekend, but instead, they ended up losing a game to both teams after getting swept by the Dodgers. Matters are starting to look a bit grim in DC, where Washington had better get a move on over the course of these next few weeks if it is going to have any hope of running down the Braves for a second straight division title.
26: Detroit Tigers (53-44, -$1,261) (LW: 26): It's not all that often that you see a division leader way down here in the money rankings, and in fact, it's not all that often that you see a team with a winning record this low either. Alas, the Tigers are defying all logic this year because their starting pitchers are all seemingly overrated. The biggest gaffe? RHP Justin Verlander, who has three straight starts with just three strikeouts. Obviously, that's not getting the job done.
27: San Francisco Giants (45-52, -$1,485) (LW: 27): The Giants have only scored a total of eight runs in their last four games, but they did take two out of three against Arizona after holding the D'Backs to a total of just six runs in the first three-game set of the second half. If the defending World Series champs are making their move, they're doing so right now with four at home against the Reds (though they'll be the road team in one of those games) followed by three with the Cubs.
28: Milwaukee Brewers (41-56, -$1,568) (LW: 29): Playing the Marlins for three games is good for what ails ya! The Brewers not only posted three straight wins, but three straight shutouts as well, dropping their team ERA below 4.00 for basically the first time all season long. The Brew Crew allowed just 15 hits in the three games, and they have now outscored foes 14-1 during this four-game winning streak.
29: Chicago White Sox (39-56, -$1,671) (LW: 28): The Sox won two out of three from the Braves, and they continue to play respectable ball against National League teams. Thus far this season, Chicago is 8-12 against National League foes, but when you look at its record against the rest of the American League, you have to be at least modestly impressed by those numbers.
30: Los Angeles Angels (46-50, -$1,771) (LW: 30): We've been saying for the last two weeks that the Angels basically need to win two out of three against everyone that they face for the rest of the year to have a shot of getting in the playoffs, and they did just that in their first series against the A's at home. These next few weeks are crucial, as between now and August 15th, there are four games against Oakland, six with Texas, three with Cleveland, and four with New York.